Mavericks provides stage for extreme athletes
THE SANTA CLARA
January 30, 2014
Twenty-four of the world’s best big wave surfers made a pilgrimage to Half Moon Bay, Calif., where, last Friday, they took on one of the most notorious swells in the world at the Mavericks Invitational.
Now part of the Big Wave World Tour, Mavericks was first held in 1999, and only takes place when environmental conditions combine to produce exceptionally massive waves, the highest of which top out at over 80 feet.
If this occurs between Nov. 1 and March 31, the public and contestants are immediately notified. They may have as little as 24 hours to arrive.
Santa Clara junior Ryan Klaus, who has attended the competition five times, said the experience is like no other.
“Mavericks is a unique surf contest because it is much more about the heart of surfing than almost any contest,“ he said. “The atmosphere embraces the history of the wave and the danger of it.”
The first heat began at 8 a.m. as riders were towed into the frigid ocean and pitted against monstrous waves exceeding heights of 40 feet.
While some viewed the action from boats on the water, the majority of spectators watched a live feed of the surfing on a projector at the official inland Mavericks Festival.
Besides viewing the contest, those at the festival enjoyed a variety of food trucks, merchandise stands and a live performance from a local reggae band, Nesta.
“I love the atmosphere and community surrounding Mavericks,” Klaus said. “It taps into the soul of the sport and reminds me why people surf.”
Many successful rides and colossal wipeouts later, the final heat began at approximately 1 p.m.
In the end, it was South African native Grant “Twiggy” Baker who claimed first place, the GoPro “Bronzed Waterman Memorial Trophy,” and a grand prize of $12,000.
Burle stated that despite having surfed Mavericks several times, this competition was different than the rest.
“That is something very special about surfing, you’re never going to get a wave that’s like another or a day that is the same,” he said. “I’m stoked to have had a chance to compete (with) the best in the world and be part of this community.”
Contact Gogo Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 984-6004.